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Witness: Poppy
Location: New South Wales, Australia
Date of Encounter: 2002 and 2005

I have two brief encounters (not very sensational but absolutely true) to relate — both of which occurred on ghost tours in New South Wales, Australia. The first was at Rydalmere, on a tour of grounds which at various times in their history housed lunatics and orphans (and now, university students). In brief, we were told of a young boy who had died while crossing from the boys' yard and into the girls' yard. Boys and girls were not allowed to mingle at that time. He fell into water (I think it was a cesspit) and drowned. We were informed that his laugh is still heard. A few minutes later as I was lagging behind the rest of the group and standing at the top of a spiral stairwell, which opens onto the courtyard where the boy had drowned, a young girl grabbed my arm in shock and asked, "Did you hear that?!" I was surprised and stopped for a minute.

I distinctly heard the laugh of a very young boy — it was very clear and seemed slightly malevolent? Mischievous? It had a very strange quality to it — almost as if it was right next to me, but very distant at the same time. I asked the guide if it was a set-up as the voice was so distinct, but she denied any such thing. Some people on the tour were making unbelievable claims like they were watching women going through a doorway, in full period dress as we sat there, so I did not pursue the matter.

The next encounter happened on a ghost tour in the Blue Mountains. We were visiting a park in which a child and mother had been killed by a falling tree. A tour group member tried to take a photo in a specific spot near a birdbath. Her flash would not work when pointed at the birdbath, but when she moved it away, it was fine. This happened repeatedly. The really creepy thing was that while looking through the viewfinder we could all see a distinct fuzzy white shape about three feet high next to the birdbath which was not there when we looked at the spot without benefit of the camera. I looked to see if it could be moonlight, etc. But honestly, nothing could explain it and it showed up repeatedly. It was not a shadow or reflection as it was vertical — not lying flat. The tour guide was a total believer and did not question anything, and the other three people on the tour accepted it calmly. It was just my husband and I who are still trying to figure it out.

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